To the Chilterns
Today, we go for a short break to the Chilterns. With two daughters, one son-in-law and three grandsons. This will be fun - but probably exhausting. I'll be missing a few blog entries, in particular the 500th.
Ups and downs
In the UK, the new case numbers seem to be falling; from 50000 to 25000 in the last ten days. Hurrah!
But in the USA new case numbers are rising; from 15000 to 70000 in the last ten days. Sad.
So what's the difference? I don't know. I've heard it said that it's vaccination rates, but I don't think that the rates in the US and UK are that different; a bit more in the UK.
Of course, these figures don't reflect the situation since the opening up of July 19th, so maybe things might get worse. But let's hope that the downturn continues.
Fourteen stone, nine pounds
The diet continues; the next target is 14-4, which is 200 pounds. As an incentive, I get to drink a bottle of beer each time I lose a pound.
The origin of this was 16 months ago, when I was 17-9, and I had a tooth extraction, just before the first lockdown. Because of the extraction (which wasn't as bad as I'd feared), I was very disinclined to eat for the next couple of days (meaning, I didn't eat), followed by some days on soup. As a result, I lost quite a few pounds.
Added to that, I had the incentive of Covid, which hits old obese males harder than the average. Well, I'm as old as I feel, and I'm not going to change gender, but I can do something abut the excess weight. And I have.
A man died after falling from his e-scooter recently. This is strange for the following reasons.
1. It's illegal to ride an e-scooter on the road or the pavement.
2. No other vehicle was involved, Why did he die?
I've never ridden an e-scooter, but I've had several years on an e-bike. I've fallen off several times, mostly on bridleways and suchlike, once on a tarmac road. Once, my legs were paralysed for several hours, once I went head-over-handlebars. A couple of times, I couldn't fully rotate my shoulder for many weeks.
Falling off hurts. Even if you land on grass. But it's never been life-threatening. You fall just as far off a bike as when you fall off a scooter. So, I don't understand it.
E-scooters don't even go really fast (unless you've made some sort of turbo scooter). They shouldn't really be more dangerous than an e-bike.
I think we need legislation, just as we have legislation for e-bikes. There needs to be a limit on the top speed (I'd suggest the same as for an e-bike), and there needs to be a requirement for lights at night, and for good brakes, front and rear. And helmets. Last time I came off my bike (and broke three ribs), the first thing the ambulance men checked, was my head and helmet. Then my spine. So yes, I always wear a helmet and gloves.
Some e-scooters are like a bike, but without pedals. Some also lack a saddle, so you stand to ride. If I removed the pedals from my e-bike, would that make it into an illegal e-scooter? Because I don't see how it would make it less safe to ride.
Waitrose called to tell us that they can't make their weekly delivery, because they've lost too many drivers to pings. They aren't actually ill, but they've been told by the NHS app to self-isolate.
So it's all true.
Instead, we're going to do a "click and collect", so we aren't going to starve. But if this is repeated country-wide, and if it keeps getting bigger, then our half-baked government is going to have to do another U-turn.
Payment Card Industry Data Security Standard. I have to do this each year. It certifies that my systems are secure enough for working with credit card data.
So, I did it last week, or at least I thought I did. And the bank web site confirmed that I had. But yesterday I got a phone call from them - apparently, I did last year's again.
So, I did it again. I answered all the questions, but I must have done something wrong, because it assessed me as "high risk". So I phoned the bank again, and they had a look through it, and they must have changed something because then I was low risk. I don't know what they changed, and since it led to the answer we all wanted, I didn't like to do a deep probe.
So I'm all set for another year.
Ping is a program, available in Windows and Linux, that reaches out to another computer and says "Are you there?". It's very useful.
But civilians are using the word in a different sense. When the NHS app tells you thst you've been close enough to an infected person, it tells you so, and they're calling that a "ping".
We've got 50,000 new cases per day, so the number of infected people is around half a million. And so more than 600,000 people have been pinged.
If they all self-isolate for ten days, that's a big chunk of the active work force. And they all lose pay as a result. So people are removing the app from their phones - no app, no ping.
The problem is, the "test, trace, isolate" works when there's a small number of cases, but when the pandemic gets out of control, it's less useful.
What's the answer? There is no answer.
Here's me pinging the Google DNS server.